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An online presence for your business is more important than ever. In fact, 76% of consumers will view your online presence before ever setting foot into your business. Thus, it makes sense that businesses do what they can to strengthen their online presence, which typically includes enhancing SEO.

A great way to do this is with Google Business Profile. For those unfamiliar with this service, Google Business Profile is a service provided by Google that allows business owners to better control their online presence, gain insights from data, and manage customer interactions.

Why Google Business Profile Matters

When it comes to promoting your business, local search matters! Just think about what you do when you need to find a new business. You’ll likely pull out your phone and Google “birthday cakes” or “lawn care services.” Google then responds with a list of local businesses including some basic information and their location on a map.

This is where the power of Google Business Profile comes into play. This tool allows you to optimize your business’ profile on Google. One of the most useful tools is the ability to incorporate local SEO. Search engine optimization not only helps determine how Google connects people to your website but also whether Google shows your business profile to people. Using keywords in your business profile can help you outrank competitors.

Google Business Profile also allows you to interact with customers by responding to reviews, answering questions, and enabling direct messages. This is an important tool for enhancing your brand visibility and lending greater credibility to your business in the digital age.

Key Benefits of Using Google Business Profile

There are many benefits that come with using Google Business Profile. Below are some of the most important ones.

Improved Visibility with Local SEO

Incorporating local SEO into your business profile will help strengthen your business’ visibility to local customers. This is one of the most important ways to increase awareness of your business and get people through the door!

Enhanced Customer Engagement

There are many ways to engage with customers through Google Business Profile. You are able to respond to reviews, set up direct messaging abilities, and answer questions. Prompt responses on Google Business Profile can strengthen your reputation in the community.

Display Essential, Accurate Information

Enable customers and community members to quickly find the most important information about your business. Ensure that your hours of operation, address, phone number, website, and other info are accurate and available.

Attract New Customers

Google Business Profile allows you to post business updates and promotions. This makes it function a lot like other forms of social media. You can better advertise directly to those who are searching for businesses like yours!

How to Create Your Google Business Profile Listing

While this tool is very powerful for your business, it is also fairly easy to use. In fact, you can create your Google Business Profile listing in these simple steps.

  • Simple sign into Google (or create an account if you don’t have one yet).
  • Navigate to Google Business Profile.
  • Enter your business’ core details and information.
  • Select and complete a verification option (i.e., mail, phone, email).

For more detailed instructions, see Google’s handy FAQ.

Optimizing Your Google Business Profile

Once you have signed up for Google Business Profile, the next step is to optimize your profile. This is critical for getting the most out of this asset. Optimizing your profile involves making it as attractive as possible to prospective customers. Here are things you should focus on:

Provide Accurate, Detailed Information

Provide customers with accurate information about your business, what you do, when you are open, and how to get in contact with you. It is essential to edit this any time a major aspect of your business changes (for example, hours you are open).

Identify Your Categories & Attributes

You want people interested in your business to find you. Thus, choosing the appropriate categories and attributes on Google Business Profile is essential. Choose from a list of categories. You can also set the service range of your business, which will further help Google recommend you to nearby customers.

Add High-Quality Photos

One thing that many people will look at when evaluating business results is photos. Thus, choose photographs that show your best work. This is particularly true if your business is in food service but important for all businesses. Communicate your brand with the photos.

Craft a Compelling Description with Local SEO

This is where you can really entice customers into checking out your business. Write a compelling description that highlights what you do using SEO. Be concise while focusing on what makes you stand out. Additionally, be sure to utilize one of your primary keywords. (If you don’t have one, we can help!) This can greatly increase the number of people that opt to give you a try.

Managing and Utilizing Google Business Profile Features

Now that you’ve created an optimized profile, you can settle into the day-in, day-out life of using Google Business Profile. Here are some things to consider that will set you up for success.

Responding to Customer Reviews and Ratings

Being interactive with your customers shows that you care about them. When people read reviews and see your response, they know you are engaged in your business’ work. Expressing thanks for positive reviews while trying to make things right for customers with negative experiences can help you stand out.

Posting Regular Updates, Events, & Promotions

One of the more underutilized aspects of Google Business Profile can be the ability to post updates and promotions. However, this can go a long way towards communicating with customers. Savvy business owners view Google Business Profile as an extension of their existing social media channels, helping reach new customers with promotions. It is also important to note that Google will now remove posts over six months old from your page, so adding new content is more critical than ever!

Use Insights Feature to Understand Customer Engagement

One of the neat little tools within Google Business Profile is the Insights feature. This serves as an analytical dashboard that provides charts and graphs of how customers found your business, how they interacted with you, and even if your photos are performing well. Using this feature can help you refine how you optimize your business listing.

Tips for Google Business Profile Success

When using this tool to strengthen your advertising and marketing, there are several things you can do to help strengthen the benefits you receive.

  • Respond to Customer Reviews. This is an important way to engage with customers, show that you care, and make things right when someone has a negative experience.
  • Keep Info Up to Date. Sometimes things with your business change. It is imperative that this is reflected on Google Business Profile so customers are also in the know.
  • Communicate Brand Personality with Posts. Just like with traditional social media networks, Google Business Profile is a great way to show off your business’ unique brand through posts and promotions. Integrate it into your existing social media plan.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Just as there are a number of things to do in order to strengthen your usage of Google Business Profile, there are also a handful of mistakes that you will want to avoid. Here are some of the most common.

  • Not Verifying Your Listing. If you don’t verify your listing, you won’t be able to make use of some of the most valuable tools with Google Business Profile. Be sure to select a convenient method of verification and get it done.
  • Inconsistency Across Platforms. You want to ensure that you have a consistent brand and consistent information across platforms. When something major changes on one, it needs to be changed on all.
  • Ignoring Customer Reviews. If you ignore customer reviews (both positive and negative) you are losing an opportunity to engage with customers in a critical area. You also lose the potential to show future customers the level of care you put into customer satisfaction.

As you can see, Google Business Profile is an important tool you can leverage to increase visibility. Be sure to take time to create and manage your own Google Business Profile listings. This is a great way to enhance your brand and draw in new customers. The local focus of Google means that using Google Business Profile greatly increases your local exposure by putting powerful tools at your fingertips!